We are Antonio Olmos, Stephanie Fuentes, and Sheila Arens of the Colorado Evaluation Network (COEN), the local chapter of AEA. Welcome to the Local Arrangements Working Group (LAWG) week. We look forward to your visit to Denver this October for Evaluation 2014. We are working hard with AEA to plan a great event for you while you are in the Mile High City.
In the last year or so, our state has experienced some shifts which may interest evaluators. On January 1, 2014, we legalized the use of recreational marijuana. There have been many anticipated and unanticipated consequences, including possible reductions in crime and new sources of city and state revenues (along with potential ramifications in traditional evaluation arenas like public education and public health). It’s too early in this “experiment” to assess overall impact, but we know everyone is watching. Similarly, energy is on the minds of many Coloradans with intense debates over the oil and gas industry’s use of fracking driving initiatives to ban fracking in some jurisdictions due to of health and safety concerns. At the same time, there are calls to expand research and evaluation of green energies. These two examples speak to the balance between meeting energy demands and environmental consequences. Clearly, program evaluation may be in a position to help.
Hot Tips – What to Visit When You Come to Denver
In addition to the 2014 AEA conference, there are many other things worth keeping in mind when you plan your visit! Check http://www.denver.org/ for events in Denver. Be on the lookout for a local guide; in the meantime consider any of the following:
- Outdoor activities: Jog or bike around the many trails through Downtown Denver. Denver has a B-Cycle program where you can borrow townies and explore the city. Get out of the city! There are plenty of hiking trails just a short drive away in Boulder, Red Rocks, or Golden.
- Sporting events: Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rapids (soccer) and Denver Broncos will be in full swing. If Colorado Rockies are in the pennant race, baseball could be a fun option. Except for the Rapids, all venues are within walking distance or a short shuttle/light rail ride away.
- Cultural events: Downtown Denver and its immediate surroundings are home to multiple art, nature and history museums, as well as theaters and music halls. Within walking distance are aquariums and historic buildings.
- Explore the city … and beyond: There are multiple places in Downtown and Lower Downtown (LoDo) to go at night. Both are full of microbreweries – take a tour of them! Using the light rail/buses you can go to Golden, Boulder or Fort Collins. Or rent a car and explore the majestic Rocky Mountains.
We’re thinking forward to October and the Evaluation 2014 annual conference all this week with our colleagues in the Local Arrangements Working Group (LAWG). Registration will soon be open! Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to contribute to aea365? Review the contribution guidelines and send your draft post to firstname.lastname@example.org.